Delicious Carrot Cake with Pecans

There is something distinctly special about a carrot cake, it’s no wonder we’ve been putting carrots in our puddings since Medieval times, our ancestors knew a thing or two.

MAKES FOUR SMALL CAKES OR ONE LARGE

VEGETARIAN - GLUTEN FREE

Here's how you do it

1.       Preheat your oven to 180 °c.

2.       Mix the dry ingredients together – flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

3.       Now melt your butter and mix with the almond essence and the eggs and pour this into the dry ingredients. Alternatively, pop it all in your mixer and whizz for a couple of minutes, scraping the sides as needed.

4.       Mix in by hand the grated carrot, sultanas and pecans until evenly spread.

5.       Grease an 8-inch cake tin (or rough equivalent) and pour the sweet-smelling mixture into it.

6.       Pop in the oven for 25-35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

7.       Leave to cool for a few minutes and then remove from the tin and allow to cool further on a wire rack. I find the best way to remove a cake is to gently draw a palette knife around the outside and then around again, this time lifting the cake a little way in. Next, pop your oven gloves on and tap around the edge as you rotate the tin. Give it a little shake – when its ready to come out, it will move freely.

8.       Mix your cream cheese and sieved icing sugar together until smooth. If it is too runny, add a little more icing sugar, however, we like it to dribble over the sides. If you prefer a butter cream consistency, add a little butter and leave to thicken in the fridge for a bit.

9.       You can choose to keep this as one large cake or if you’re feeling fancy, then you can cut out four circles. If you don’t have a cookie cutter the right size, simply use an empty can and open both ends with a can opener.

10.   Now gently spread the icing over the top of each cake and decorate with a slice of fig and a drizzle of honey.

Do not worry about wasting the rest of the cake, because, well you won’t. Simply cut into slices and serve with the leftover cream cheese for a pudding another night. Alternatively, you can empty the bowl of leftover cream cheese right now, that’s not unexpected, it happens. And then freeze the cake leftovers for another day, it freezes very well. Or simply double the ingredients, making one cake for now and another to freeze.

For those with a nut allergy, simply omit the pecans and the almond essence and the cake will still taste delicious. If you wish to make this vegan, replace the eggs and the butter with 220g apple puree, however it may be a little flat given the weight of the carrots, etc. If this happens, simply cut out eight circles of cake and sandwich two together and add the icing top and middle. Use a vegan butter alternative to mix with the icing sugar for a butter cream alternative and then omit the honey. Job done.

We actually had carrot cake as our wedding cake. Actually, we had chocolate cake too, and coffee cake and strawberry sponge. And cupcakes. Ok, you got me. It was a cake table. Our friends and family are awesome and all contributed, it was incredible. Whoever said ‘All you need is love…and cake’, they know.

Ingredients

  • 125g plain flour (gluten free works well, just add another tsp of baking powder)
  • 150g sugar (or 50g Truvia for diabetics or your chosen sweetener equivalent)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 2tsp cinnamon
  • 125g butter – melted (or vegan equivalent)
  • 1tsp almond essence
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 2 large carrots – grated
  • 75g sultanas
  • 75g pecan nuts
  • 200g cream cheese
  • 100g icing sugar
  • Fresh fig and runny honey to garnish

What’s in this recipe